Wednesday, 30 November 2011

Train of Thought and Revolution

Danton the Oil Painting
I had an appointment with the neurologist today which led me to thinking about heads. I guess one of the biggest problems is keeping yours when others about you are losing theirs. 

This (naturally) led me to thinking about the French Revolution and how so many first-rate and not-so first-rate heads were parted from their bodies. 

For instance, Georges Danton. He gets first prize for the most conceited -

- To His Executioner, during the French Revolution -

"Show my head to the people, it is worth seeing." 

Can you believe it? And he was no oil painting (although I guess he was, seeing as they didn't have photography then). You have to admit, pretty odd words for someone about to face the guillotine. No "hope I wasn't out of line voting for the execution of Louis XVI" although that wouldn't have helped his situation. Not even a farewell to his pals or, oh, I don't know, a plea to reconsider? I wonder if they did show his head? I'm sure there's a letter about this in one of the archives.

The French have always kept amazing records. On Ancestry.com you can read "the database containing an index to more than 13,000 individuals who were condemned to be executed in connection with the French Revolution between 1792 and 1796. The majority of the executions were by guillotine. However, this index also contains the names of some individuals condemned to be executed by hanging, drowning, firing squad, or otherwise. While this index contains a significant amount of names, it does not represent every person who was executed during this time period".

Isn't that incredible?!! I took a look and of course it's just lists and lists of names, but I'm sure some families know of relatives who died at the time. 

Well anyway, this head business is all very interesting.  Hope I keep mine. I know it wanders in strange directions, but I'm rather attached to it.
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2 comments:

  1. Rebecca@FreakyFrugalite.com12/01/2011

    Well, LOL, now THAT"s making lemonade out of lemons! I like quirky stories from history... although at the time of the event I'm sure the history makers would much rather be eating cake....

    Hope things go well for you, too. :)

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  2. LOL! I forgot all about "let them eat cake". Good one!

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